I once heard Bishop Jakes say a good flight is one that lands safely.
I thought about this upon hearing that Capt. Shelley Sullenberger landed a US Airways Airbus A32 in the Hudson River recently. His skills certainly made a difference and avoided disaster.
I recently read Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell and he brilliantly describes a typical exchange by a pilot and ATC in cases where a plane crashes. He also lists certain things that airlines do to avoid crashes. I recommend the book for the good writing not just the fear factor. Some writers can describe anything and make it sound like music. Gladwell has that skill. I remember doing a report during college surveying his science writing, particularly when he wrote about HIV when he was at the Washington Post. (Sebastian Junger also showed similar writing acumen when he described what it must feel like to drown in his book Perfect Storm).
As more details emerge about what happened to interrupt that flight last week, we’ll be reminded that the skill of airline pilots is something we often take for granted.